Keeping it real – back to butter


I have long been an advocate of butter – as opposed to margarine. I don’t see what the lure is behind a man made concoction when compared to something natural. I personally believe that even though butter contains fat, that our bodies are better designed to absorb, burn and then excrete natural foods rather than laboratory ones.

Homemade butter

I used to think the margarine adds on television were a bit of a laugh too – some mum serving up veges with a knob of Meadow Lea on top, smiling lovingly at her family – with the slogan – You ought to be congratulated. What a load of crock! Also, on the packaging they really push that fact that Margarine is “Polyunsaturated”. Sure, your average mum majored in inorganic Chemistry and totally get’s what that means. For some reason if it sounds high tech and complicated, we love it. Oh…that must be better. Right? Allowing such propaganda in food advertising makes the whole industry look like it is a joke.

Instead, real food, the food that Grandma used to make, just doesn’t have the same sexy edge retail edge. You can’t make that sound complex or sophisticated, but that is the standard I crave, the goal I seek. I want to eat real food like Nan did when she was a girl. Stuff that hasn’t been sprayed or tampered with, had the fibre removed and then wonder-soft fibre added back in or genetically modified to be bigger and more tasteless than ever before.

I listened to a very interesting webcast a few months ago – by chance more than anything because Amber was sick (take them to creche and they just get one thing after another). Working women online did a series of webcasts every Thursday at 10am (not a time I am normally near a PC with sound) with a different guest speaker every week.

The week I got to listen in the speaker was Cyndi O’Meara – a nutritionist who advocates essentially food that is as close to it’s natural source. Of course, we have all heard this time and time again, and it makes perfect sense that our bodies will better absorb food from a more natural source than a laboratory concoction. However, Cyndi goes one step further by having done her research and understanding what our bodies really need, and what some of the ‘laboratory foods’ really do. It helps people like myself to make changes if I can understand the ‘why’ – and this needs to be from a trusted source.

So, after listening to Cyndi talk, I purchased her book Changing Habits, Changing Lives. Cyndi is an advocator for eating real butter, real food, sugar, using real ingredients, and not being sucked in by the marketing on food products. She spends much of her time teaching you about additives, and understanding how to read and understand food labels. Much of what she says goes against what you hear in the news these days about what you should be eating, and yet, it makes much more sense. If you go to Cyndi’s website, it has a ‘weight loss’ focus, which I guess is an issue for many people. I am not really interested in a 21 day weight loss diet. But I am interested in what she has to say about food, and cooking utensils, additives and preservatives and food supplements. I would highly recommend her book.

I recall when I was a school girl, I went to a Catholic girls school with approximately 1000 girls. When I started school I clearly recall a few overweight school girls because in those days (back in the early 80’s) an overweight kid was the minority. And we had ‘Milk bars’ that lured us in on the way home, hot chips were a treat I frequented often. Mum would always make us three rounds of sandwiches, a baked biscuit, a piece of fruit, some dried apricots. When we got home, dinner was mostly cooked at home, and most of the ingredients were grown by Dad in his community garden plot alongside the Tullamarine freeway. When it comes to desserts, Mum would pull out all of the stops, and desserts can range from a Lemon Meringue Pie to Cheesecake – oh the list goes on and on and on.

I recall when I was in year 12, sitting with my friends Sally and Louise, devouring my three rounds of sandwiches. I had a girl come up to me, touch my upper arm, and said: “Those are the arms of an anorexic”. Clearly she was blind, or trying to help me confess that yes, the three rounds of sandwiches were just a front, and secretly I was purging them down the big white telephone. In reality, I was eating like a horse, had a metabolism that was on fire, and couldn’t wait to get my next feed.

Clearly our food has changed since those days, and so many children and adolescents appear to have weight issues. I have mostly maintained the sort of diet I had as a child, and where I have veered from it and gone for convenience, I have noticed my weight creep.

Reading Cyndi’s book it has helped me understand why, and understanding why makes it so much easier to then change your practices. Where possible for us it is now home grown, organic, or made from scratch. When I buy something, I am looking at the labels and choosing differently. And I now really value something that I know rather than giving that away to someone else for conveniences sake.

So….back to butter. I know that butter isn’t hard to make, but I have never done it. I went home for dinner the other day and was excited about making butter, and Mum’s response was oh, we used to do that all the time…and onto the next topic. It’s such an non-event for her generation. I was so excited and proud of the fact that I had turned cream I had carefully siphoned off the top of the milk into butter I could hardly contain myself. Looks like my generation really missed out on the basics.

So how do you do it? A really good web-video by Professor Robert Kramph helps explain the whole process.


  • Cream (mine is from a real cow, but if yours isn’t – just make sure it has no additives of any sort)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

What you will need

  • A well sealed jar
  • Cream allowed to sour for a few hours

What to do

  • If you need to, siphon the cream off from the milk (I used a turkey baster after experimenting unsuccessfully with other things)
  • Place the cream in a jar and leave on the bench for 12 or so hours until the cream starts to sour (or better still, don’t throw out your sour cream)
  • Shake the jar for 3.5 minutes – the butter will eventually separate from the buttermilk
  • When the butter is formed, pour off the butter milk off and set it aside (it’s great for smoothies, cooking, bread baking)
  • Press the buttermilk out of the butter, to do this you can wash the butter in cold water. This prevents it from going rancid
  • You can eat the butter straight, or lightly salt it and pat it into shape and refrigerate it for up to one week.

Milk with a cream layer on topAfter 2 mins of shaking, you can see the cream start to separateThe butter formed after 3.5 mins of shakingPouring off the buttermilkButter and buttermilk ratios

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hazel says:

    Good to see you have been putting your share of that lovely creamy milk to good use! I have been enjoying the yogurt made with mine and I have one kid who drinks milk all the time. I could almost use my own 20L bucket!


    1. Geri says:

      Hi Hazel, after agreeing to buy 4 litres per week I then realised I would have to use it…so the new hobby is yoghurt, cheese and butter making. You can never have enough of those things around!


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